Some form of end of year sentiment

2014 was the year of the bite- the where I was bombarded with more shit than a broken toilet, just when I thought it was going to get better it didn’t it got worse, far worse than I could have ever imagined. 2015 was the hermit year where I just didn’t really do much- I stopped dating completely, completed my teaching qual and have a very nice 30th birthday. 2016 has been the year of understanding myself, the year where I fully got to grips with me. I started the year up in Chester with Claire and will end the year somewhere in London. This year I opened up about my depression, got healthier, watched lots of films and saw some of my favourite artists (Walter Schriefels and Kevin Devine to name a few). I went to Manchester, Nottingham and Edinburgh, saw lots of comedy and mets lots of wonderful people along the way. My department got an outstanding from OFSTED meaning I’m probably one of the best teachers in the country. 

I’m not saying this years been easy (Brexit, Trump), there have been moments where I cried from the depths of my soul. My depression got really bad, REALLY BAD and honestly Christmas wasn’t that easy either. I’m learning to deal with it every single day and doing my best. I’m very grateful for the people around  me and all the love and support. 

The one thing I’ve learnt this year is that there will always be shit and stuff- its just how you deal with the stuff. It really feels like the end of the trilogy (my twenties were the wilderness years and yes I’m aware of talking about my existence in sequel terms). 

 I’m walking in to 2017 happier, healthier and feeling more creative than I have ever felt. 

Happy New Year!!! 

Shaziya xo

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My films of the year. 

At my worst I wasn’t able to really enjoy films,  books or music.  This year however I embraced it All! 

I was lucky enough to watch Aliens on 70mm,  go to the  Bridget Jones premiere and watch the underrated gem that is the Driver and see Edgar Wright present it.  The best thing about 2016 has been watching all the films.  Claire started my love of Marvel with the great binge of early 2016 and I spent far more of my spare time either in the cinema or watching films in bed. 

Myself and Shona went to the Edgar Wright all nighter which cemented my love for Mr Wrights films and the Prince Charles Cinema.  I spent the day at Picturehouse Central where I saw Aliens in 70mm,  Green Room and the Neon Demon all for a £1 each as part of their 1st birthday celebrations with Malinda where I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in years all thanks to twitter (Sabrina).  

I saw the Nick Cave documentary the day after I had written that last post and it was heart breaking and beautiful.  Shona,  Malinda and myself came out of cinema unable to speak- a testament to how utterly wonderful and gut wrenching that film is.  

I saw Captain America and Fantastic Beasts both good,  fun films.  Amongst many, many more.  

My most hated film of 2016 was the Neon Demon- granted I think every one should it,  but it really was plastic and didn’t really have any redeeming factors (apart from the soundtrack) 

My fave film of the year was definitely Hunt for the Wilder people- Taika Waititi is a genius.  (What we do in the shadows one of my fave films due to its utter comedic brilliance) Hunt had the right amount of humour and humility and I loved every second.  

Also loved Star Wars the force awakens because Star Wars. 

Hope 2016 has brought you as much filmic joy as it brought me.  Here’s to more of the same in 2017! 

All the love,  

Shaziya xo 

The Dark Place

Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day. Depression is something we don’t talk about half as much as we should because at some point or other it will affect us all. 

I remember a time years ago I was at ATP surrounded by friends and I could not stop crying. I couldn’t listen to music. I couldn’t read a book. I couldn’t watch a film. I couldn’t write. I could barely take a photo. All I could do was stare into the abyss of the television whilst some reality show glared back. All these things I desperately enjoyed doing robbed from me. Shaziya who loves music, books and films and diving conversations about all of the aforementioned. 

It still comes in waves and I sit with it him or her I darent even give it a name to give it a name would be to admit to it, to hold it in reverence to acknowledge the hurt that comes with the infinite sadness. To say it leaves you stuck is an understatement. The flat stays messy as the thoughts whirl about in your head but thats just what they are thoughts. Thoughts that happen to be taking up space in your brain, space that could be filled with ideas and plans but space. Space, sometimes the biggest thing is to get out of bed to listen to a band you (I) adore. Sometimes you feel a sense of gratitude when you have have a shower. Sometimes and space. Sometimes you could spend an evening with friends yet still go home and cry into your pillow sometimes. 

So you do the things that make you feel good. You lie in bed and finish a book and remember a time when that just wasn’t possible. You listen to an album because right now that album reflects exactly how you feel and there was a time when all you could listen to was middle of the road rock which is not soothing or something you (I) enjoy. You watch THAT film because there was time all you could watch was rom coms and you generally hate rom coms unless its THAT time of the month or there ironic or not shit. You cook a healthy meal because is anything better than cooking?  You work out because those endorphins are addicitive and the moment you stop you….. You go for a walk with your camera because the happiest place for you (me) is taking photos and there was a time….. There WAS a time but that time is not now. You call your friends and talk because you are surrounded by people who are lovely and love you and you know that you’re better talking to others than letting yourself simmer with it. However sometimes the most wonderful thing is to be alone, sipping tea and writing because you love writing and creativity is the thing that makes you you.  You look down at your wrist and remember why you have THAT tattoo. You put on THE red lipstick and THOSE boots because this time it won’t she/ he/ it won’t win. You are far stronger than you believe and you have come through so much. 

If you are going through something tell someone don’t suffer in silence. 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

Things I’ve learnt from Fringe….

In the words of Staind it has indeed been awhile. I am just back from THE BEST WEDDING in Manchester and a trip to Edinburgh Fringe. I have seen some of the most wonderful comedians bare there hearts, souls and other body parts to an audience and it was heart warming, alittle scary and downright beautiful. 

  Below are just some of things I have learnt from my first fringe fling: 

1: The fringe bible is your friend but an inanimate object can only do so much so get talking to others. The flyerers are fountains of information who you can occasionally bare your soul to (I had got my first cold in seven months up there which coincided nicely with my holiday). My friend Kevin also happens to be an awesome reviewer so I heard things on the fringevine (see what I did there) 

2: Check out the Free Fringe. Fringe can be ludicrously expensive so its worth having a look at some of the free fringe shows. I saw some of my favourite shows due to the free fringe (more about that later) 

3: Get up early- I planned to do all the cultural stuff in the mornings (I only succeeded once)- most shows don’t start until around my midday giving you a chance to explore (saunter) around the shops/caves/museums. 

4: Be prepared to spend those pennies- I managed to do my trip on a teeny budget but still over spent. Next time I will make sure I save a bit so I can spend alittle more. All the pubs put up there drinks prices as well. In other words YOU WILL SPEND MONEY. 

5: Take lots of photos- Edinburgh is a beautiful city and I was lucky enough to be there when the weather was good. Take advantage and explore its deep and dirty history. 

6: Be prepared to queue – Halfway through is when shows really start to make a name for themselves hence bigger queues! If you don’t get into the show you want to see- down a beverage of a choice and there will undoubtedly be another show to see. 

7: Theres always a theme- You’ll find an overall theme each year- 2016 seems to be about mental health. Its great so many comedians tackling an issue that affects us all at some point. 

8: It will direct your comedy taste- Turns out I like comedy that’s slightly surreal, passionate and alittle dark (just like my music). Out of all the shows I saw whilst up there I didn’t enjoy TWO of them. Not everything will be to your taste but this just highlights the kind of comedy you do enjoy!!! 

9: Find a good pub- My favourite venue/ pub was Bannermans, a dive bar gig venue in the caves that felt slightly haunted. I also liked Cabaret Voltaire and the The Blind Poet (they have an amazing selection of beers & ciders). 

10: Be prepared to walk- Edinburgh is very hilly so be prepared to have calves that resemble tree trunks by the end of your visit. Buses are cheap but walking really is the best way of seeing the city. 

Lastly enjoy it!!! Bask in the glory that is fringe and have a wonderful time. 

Chicken & Mushroom pasta. 

Sometimes all you want is soul food, food thats comforts you and eases you into whatever you’re doing. Chicken is my least favourite bird, however combine chicken, mushroom, panchetta and goats cheese and you have something that simply tantalizes those tastebuds. This recipe is easy and just as spicy as you want it to be (note I like my food VERY spicy!). 

You will need: 

  • Diced chicken breast. 
  • A selection of mushrooms (button and the bigger ones) chopped. 
  • Chopped panchetta. 
  • A chopped chilli. 
  • Chopped onion. 
  • Chopped spinach. 
  • A hunk of goats cheese. 
  • A hunk (loaded spoonful) of cream cheese. 
  • Black pepper and cayenne (again depends on taste) 
  • A chopped clove of garlic. 

Method: 

Once you’ve resisted the urge to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression (after all the talk of chopping). Saute your chopped onion with some olive oil, the garlic and the chilli and add alittle water to the pot along with the stock so as to not burn the pan. The onions should be vaguely sauteed by now so add the diced chicken, mushroom and the goats cheese. Let the chicken and mushroom simmer adding water as and when needed. After about say 10 minutes add the cream cheese and panchetta, let it simmer further but be careful not to let the pan burn. I gave it roughly another five- ten minutes and added the chopped spinach, black pepper and cayenne. By now you should have something that smells delicious, serve with pasta and a glass of whatever takes your fancy- enjoy!  

Shaziya Niamh 

 

Wine Time Wednesdays- Why I won’t be dry this January. 

I spent my New Years up in Chester with my friend Claire drinking ALL the rum. Days later its Wednesday, I’m back in the midst of work and life and stuff and suddenly its just alittle depressing after all the fun festivities of Christmas and New Years. 

This is why January is the saddest month of the year- you meet the slump. Its dark, miserable and cold outside. Don’t get me wrong I applaud any one willing to give up anything in the first month of the year but it’s not for me. Though I won’t be painting the town various shades of red this month I will be having the odd tipple, usually on the Wednesday! 

The first wine of the year is one that blisters of memories of my twenties, but more than that its a good wine to start the year with. This wine is as easy on your wallet as it is on your tastebuds and whisks you into a subtle vanilla whipped frenzy. 

The wine in question is Campo Viejo Temperanillo, (www.campoviejo.com) you’ve probably seen it in your local shop. Its definitely worth a try. I paired it with pizza and a night watching Jessica Jones on netflix. 

  

Happy Wednesday! 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

Hope is Made of Steel.

Remember the days when you would listen to album on your disc man so much the cd ended up scratched and over used? That became your obsession, you knew all the lyrics and all the chords to every song even the dirty little track that came on ten minutes after the album officially ‘ended’. In an age of Spotify and Itunes, I miss those days.

Then an album comes and draws you back in, becomes the thing that wakes you up and sends you to sleep, it is your life line of lullaby’s.

For me, right now Hope is Made of Steel by Northcote is this album. Every song is fuelled with a catchy Springsteenesque quality and hints of positivity. Its stadium rock but less cheesy, in short its just really bloody good and worth listening to regardless of whatever genre holds your soul.

Go listen!

Shaziya Niamh xo